A Grocery List of Budget-Friendly Basics

Cleveland Clinic registered dietitians suggest stocking your kitchen with economical items that make fixing meals at home easy.

But before you head to the grocery store, consider these physical and psychological pitfalls:
  • Eat first; shopping on an empty stomach tempts you to over-buy.
  • Don't shop when you're angry; it may cloud your judgment. Similarly, if you feel tired, take a nap before shopping.
  • Try not to shop on pay day, when you feel as though you have more money to spend.
  • Steer clear of impulse purchases at the checkout line; their prices tend to be higher.
  • Do a price check before buying in bulk; bulk purchases don’t always save you money.
  • Forgo those free food samples that invite unplanned purchases.
  • If you can, leave the kids at home to ease pressure to buy items not on your list.

Remember to read labels to choose items that are healthier (lower in sugar, fat and salt and higher in fiber), says Carolyn Snyer, RD, LD. Consider this a "starter" list to adapt for your family the next time you shop for groceries:


__Non-fat dry milk powder
__Low-fat cheese – string, store-brand American slices
__Eggs (Try making inexpensive egg substitutes at home by removing the yolk)


__Fresh fruit in season
__Canned fruits in light syrup (off-brand)


__Frozen vegetables (off-brand)
__Tomato sauce


__Whole-grain cereals (off-brand)
__Hot cereal (not in individual packets)
__Spaghetti and other pasta; focus on whole wheat (off-brand)
__Macaroni and cheese
__Rice (brown)
__Bread (try outlet stores for bargain prices)
__Tortilla wraps


__Dried peas, beans and lentils
__Canned tuna
__Peanut butter
__Textured vegetable-protein products (meat equivalents or “crumbles”)
__Ground turkey or “90/10 beef" (seems more costly but is cheaper in the end)


__Cream of mushroom soup (off-brand, low-fat)
__Cream of tomato soup (off-brand, low-fat)

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Be Well™ eNews articles are written for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as medical advice. They have not been designed to replace a physician's assessment and medical judgment. Always consult with your physician first about anything related to your personal health.